President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) approval rating has plummeted to its lowest level since the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot in 2009 amid recent controversies over US beef and avian flu, a recent poll showed.
Only 26.1 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Ma’s performance, with 62.1 percent disapproving of the president, the survey conducted by Taiwan Brain Trust think tank on Wednesday and Thursday showed.
Those figures were the lowest since August 2009, when Ma’s approval ratings dropped to 16 percent after his handling of Morakot, the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s history, which killed hundreds of Taiwanese, the think tank said.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
“The numbers signal a crisis for the Ma administration and, as you can see, the situation is getting worse,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
Responses to almost all the questions asked in the survey were unfavorable to Ma. More than half of respondents said they were unhappy with his performance over US beef imports, the H5N2 avian flu outbreak, rising commodity prices and tax reform.
On the recent US beef controversy, 54.8 percent of respondents questioned Ma’s integrity, because he pledged not to lift the ban on the growth additive ractopamine during the election campaign. A total of 67.7 percent disapproved of the government’s conditional lifting of the ban.
When asked about the alleged cover-up of an avian flu outbreak, 54.1 percent of respondents said they believed that government agencies had deliberately concealed information and 73.8 percent said the government’s handling of the outbreak was unacceptable.
These results suggest two problems in the Ma administration — lack of integrity and incompetence, Lin said.
Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), a professor at National Dong Hwa University, said Ma’s role in the recent controversies reflected a serious flaw in Taiwan’s Constitution.
At the beginning of his term in office, Ma was able to sit in the Presidential Office and do nothing, while claiming to be simply -fulfilling a role regulated by the Constitution, whereas he now “seems have his hands on everything” and is ignoring the Executive Yuan, Shih said.
According to the survey, Ma’a approval ratings never exceeded 40 percent after May 2009, one year after he took office.
Shih also highlighted the implications of answers to one of the survey questions, namely that 76.6 percent of respondents believed that public health was more important than relations with the US.
“It appears to me that people are more hostile to the US than they were and the Ma administration is going to have to work even harder to mend relations with Washington in the future,” he said.
Shih also said that former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), an experienced negotiator on trade issues who is familiar with international affairs, should have been playing a more prominent role for the DPP during the recent controversies over US beef and avian flu.
The survey, which collected 1,116 samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, also found that 53.1 percent of respondents were not satisfied with the new Cabinet led by Premier Sean Chen (陳冲).
CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT: A new committee would investigate a backlog of US weapons sales to Taiwan, said its chairman, US Representative Mike Gallagher The US should formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, and end its outdated and counterproductive “one China” policy, US Representative Tom Tiffany and 18 other US lawmakers wrote in a petition. “It is time to change the status quo and recognize the reality denied by the US government for decades: Taiwan is an independent nation,” Tiffany told the Epoch Times. “As our long-standing and valued partner, correctly acknowledging their independence from communist China is long overdue.” The resolution also asks the administration of US President Joe Biden to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations and to negotiate a bilateral free-trade
The Pentagon is preparing for US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit Taiwan later this year, Punchbowl News reported on Monday, citing an official directly involved in the talks. US administration officials anticipate McCarthy would visit Taiwan some time in the spring, the report said. McCarthy had previously pledged to visit Taiwan if he became House speaker. He was elected speaker earlier this month. He had also said that he would have liked to join then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delegation when she visited Taiwan in August last year. Pelosi’s 19-hour visit to Taipei marked the first time in 25 years
Taiwan’s Chou Chieh-yu (周婕妤) was crowned the Kamui WPA Women’s World 9-Ball Champion after shutting out British pool titan Allison Fisher 9-0 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the organizers said on Sunday. Following the championship win at Harrah’s Resort and Casino Atlantic City, Chou pocketed US$30,000 and became the first female competitor to hold both the 9-ball and 10-ball world titles since Briton Kelly Fisher in 2012. Chou, 36, won the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship in Austria in September last year after clinching a silver medal at last year’s World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, in July. “I’m very excited and it’s like
JOINT OPERATIONS: Participating in the IMET program, which offers professional training and education to military personnel, would boost Taiwan’s defense capabilities The US government is appropriating funding to help Taiwan participate in its International Military Education & Training (IMET) program to enhance interoperability and capabilities for joint operations of the Taiwanse and US militaries. The funding for Taiwan’s participation in the program is mentioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023, a US$1.7 trillion spending bill funding the US federal government for the fiscal year 2023. It covers funding for military support for Ukraine, defense spending and regions affected by natural disasters. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that IMET is an important US